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1 Beaverton Mystery- A to Z

The Grave Tattoo

by

The Grave Tattoo Cover

ISBN13: 9780312339210
ISBN10: 0312339216
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

After torrential summer rains uncover a bizarrely tattooed body on a Lake District hillside, a long-disregarded old wive's tale takes on a chilling new plausibility.

For centuries, Lakelanders have whispered that Fletcher Christian, made infamous by Mutiny on the Bounty, staged the massacre on Pitcairn so that he could return home. And once there, what if he could tell his story to an old friend and schoolmate, William Wordsworth, who turned it into a long narrative poem — a poem that remained hidden lest it expose Wordsworth to the gallows for harboring a fugitive. Wordsworth specialist Jane Gresham, herself a native of the Lake District, feels compelled to discover once and for all whether the manuscript ever existed — and whether it still exists today. But as she pursues each new lead, death follows hard on her heels. Suddenly Jane is at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that still has the power to put lives on the line.

Review:

"An intriguing, 200-year-old mystery propels this multilayered stand-alone from British author McDermid set in England's Lake District. Scholar Jane Gresham pursues her theory that HMS Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian returned secretly from exile to his homeland in the late 18th century. A shriveled body found in a bog seems to bear resemblance to this dashing hero, right down to the South Sea tattoos that blacken his buttocks. Jane searches relentlessly for a lost manuscript by the poet Wordsworth that relates Christian's tale in tantalizing excerpts between chapters. Various subplots complicate her quest, including a fraught friendship with precocious 13-year-old Tenille, a lonely, mixed-race girl who also loves Romantic poetry. With a feminist, socially conscious spin, McDermid (The Distant Echo) vividly contrasts marginal subsistence in London's dismal Marshpool neighborhood with the Lake District's bucolic lifestyle. Boasting blurbs from such notable authors as Harlan Coben, Tess Gerritsen and Joseph Finder, this could be McDermid's break-out book. 100,000 printing; author tour. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Even without the melodramatic plot twists, the novel's scholarship is exciting on its own terms, and entirely appropriate for a district so wildly beautiful that it attracts both poets and pirates." New York Times

Review:

"McDermid is the winner of numerous mystery/detective book awards, and her latest effort is sure to please her fans." Library Journal

Review:

"Val McDermid has written about a score of excellent crime-fiction books....The Grave Tattoo is well up to the standard of these previous offerings." Philadelphia Inquirer

Review:

"McDermid...renders a supremely satisfying tale in which matters of heart and mind are entwined." Booklist

Synopsis:

Against the backdrop of England's Lake District, a drama of life and death plays out, its ultimate prize a bounty worth millions

Synopsis:

In The Grave Tattoo, suspense master Val McDermid spins a psychological thriller in which a present-day murder has its roots in the eighteenth century and the mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty

After summer rains uncover a corpse bearing tattoos like those of eighteenth-century seafarers, many residents of the English Lake District cant help but wonder whether its the body of one of the towns most legendary fugitives.

Scholar and native Lakelander Jane Gresham feels compelled to finally discover the truth about the myths and buried secrets rooted in her hometown. What she never expected was to find herself at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that still has the power to put lives on the line. And with each new lead she pursues, death follows hard on her heels….

Synopsis:

In a novel reminiscent of The Rule of FourThe Dante Club and The Historian, suspense master McDermid spins a psychological thriller in which a present-day murder has its roots in the eighteenth century and the mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty. After torrential summer rains uncover a bizarrely tattooed body on a Lake District hillside, long discarded old wives' tales takes on a chilling new plausibility. For centuries, Lakelanders have whispered that Fletcher Christian staged the massacre on Pitcairn so that he could return home. And there, he told his story to an old friend and schoolmate, William Wordsworth, who turned it into a long narrative poem--a poem that remained hidden lest it expose Wordsworth to the gallows for harboring a fugitive. Wordsworth specialist Jane Gresham, herself a native of the Lake District, feels compelled to discover once and for all whether the manuscript ever existed--and whether it still exists today. But as she pursues each new lead, death follows hard on her heels. Suddenly Jane is at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that still has the power to put lives on the line. Against the dramatic backdrop of England's Lake District a drama of life and death plays out, its ultimate prize a bounty worth millions.

About the Author

Val McDermid was a journalist for sixteen years and is now a full-time writer and lives in South Manchester. In 1995, she won the Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year. Her novel, A Place of Execution, won a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel, and named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Mikeonalpha, February 17, 2007 (view all comments by Mikeonalpha)
Fletcher Chistian (1764 - 1793) was a Master's Mate on board the Bounty during William Bligh's fateful voyage to Tahiti for breadfruit plants and it was Fletcher Christian who seized command of the Bounty from Bligh on April 28th 1789 claiming the crew were suffering from inhuman treatment. Christian ended up living on Pitcairn Island, where he later died along with the other mutineers.

But did Christian really die or was his murder faked? Rumors have persisited for a hundred years that he had indeed left the Island, and that he eventually made it all the way back to England, where he lived out the rest of his life in his birthplace, hidden from justice by his family and friends, safely ensconced in the Cumbria, Lake District area of England.

This legend and the fact that Christian was distantly related to William Wordsworth, he was even an old school friend of the poet, forms the basis for Val McDermid's latest riveting crime thriller, The Grave Tattoo. When a tattooed body is found half preserved in the brackish water of a peat bog just outside of Fellhead, local Wordsworth scholar Jane Gresham jumps at the chance to investigate.

Jane has been living a hand-to-mouth existence in a council flat on the rundown Marshpool Farm Estate in London, a known habitué for drug dealers, pimps and petty criminals, so she sees the discovery of this body as an opportunity to raise herself out of semi-poverty and perhaps prove her long-held theory that indeed Fletcher did return to England and chose to tell his version of events to his old school friend.

Jane is banking on the fact that Wordsworth couldn't have ignored a story as big as this, and that the absence of direct written evidence in William's published work does not mean that the events she pictured did not take place. She's also convinced there was a lost masterpiece, a poem that Wordsworth wrote about the legend of what happened to his friend who ended up being one of the most notorious figures of the eighteenth century.

Whilst Jane travels to her childhood home of Fellhead, her thirteen-year-old friend Tenille - who has a unique gift for interpreting poetry - is stuck back in London, at the mercy of her aunt's obnoxious boyfriend. When a terrible tragedy strikes in the form of a deadly murder and a house fire, Tenille finds herself caught up with her estranged father, a merciless London gangster called the Hammer.

Forced into hiding and on the run from the police, Tenille too travels to the Lake District in order to find Jane, sure that only her friend can help her because of her unique understanding of the way the world works. Meanwhile, reports of a secret manuscript are circulating, rumored to have been entrusted into the care of one of the Wordsworth family servants, a maid called Dorcas Mason, who had actually worked for William Wordsworth and who was perhaps given his undiscovered poem for safekeeping.

Of course, there are other people who have a keen interest invested in obtaining the illusive manuscript: There's Jane's ex-boyfriend Jake Hartnell and his wealthy sugar mum Caroline, a money hungry manuscript dealer who knows how valuable the find could be. She ends up enlisting Jake to go the Midlands to see if he can track the document down.

Jane is also helped on her investigations be her best friend and colleague Dan, who admits that he would also like to reap the benefits of the discovery. And although Jane constantly fights with him, she knows deep down that her brother Matthew - the town's local school principal - is always on her side.

While Jane's investigation becomes ever more convoluted in a developing series of clues, local forensic anthropologist Dr. River Wilde continues to evaluate the bog body, hoping that the tattoos - synonymous with eighteenth century sailors from the South Sea Islands - will eventually shed some light on his identity.

As the complicated mystery disentangles, the action intensifies and this bucolic and isolated setting becomes a noxious battleground, and a deadly cat and mouse game as murder swiftly becomes the name of the game. Obviously Dorcas Mason's past was a secret history as far as her family was concerned, but someone, somewhere has a little treasure trove whose contents have never been thoroughly explored.

When the distant descendants of Dorcas, now in their eighties, start suddenly dying, Jane's suspicions are aroused and she finds herself becoming caught up in an elaborate trap of treachery and complicity, which is eventually compounded with the bitter taste of betrayal. Someone out there is determined to usurp her and find the manuscript before she does, even resorting to killing her to achieve his or her ends.

Edgy and atmospheric, Grave Tattoo is an historian's delight, a fascinating mix of genealogy and genetics, as McDermid's compelling narrative effortlessly hops from the past to present, tossing bits of information around about the legend of Fletcher Christian as she entwines an exciting tale of English history, family secrets and deception lurking in places where you least expect it.

The evidence is suggestive; if nothing else, it's all-circumstantial, but the images of Tenille, of blood and fire, and of smoke chased chaotic montages of her family and friends, spur Jane on in her penultimate journey to discover her favorite poet's long-lost work and hopefully find the real truth behind what happened to the legendary Fletcher Christian.

Full of tension and treachery The Grave Tattoo is Val McDermid's most accomplished work yet, a taut and tight psychological thriller, which shows what can happen when unbridled ambition can get in the way of friendship. Mike Leonard February 07.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780312339210
Author:
Mcdermid, Val
Publisher:
Macmillan Audio
Author:
McDermid, Val
Author:
Reading, Kate
Subject:
England
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Women Sleuths
Subject:
Wordsworth, William
Subject:
Manuscripts
Subject:
Suspense fiction
Subject:
Christian, Fletcher
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Thrillers/General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Mass market paperback
Publication Date:
20070206
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
12 cds, 14 hours
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
5.9 x 5.1 x 1.1 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

The Grave Tattoo Used Hardcover
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$4.95 In Stock
Product details 448 pages St. Martin's Minotaur - English 9780312339210 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "An intriguing, 200-year-old mystery propels this multilayered stand-alone from British author McDermid set in England's Lake District. Scholar Jane Gresham pursues her theory that HMS Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian returned secretly from exile to his homeland in the late 18th century. A shriveled body found in a bog seems to bear resemblance to this dashing hero, right down to the South Sea tattoos that blacken his buttocks. Jane searches relentlessly for a lost manuscript by the poet Wordsworth that relates Christian's tale in tantalizing excerpts between chapters. Various subplots complicate her quest, including a fraught friendship with precocious 13-year-old Tenille, a lonely, mixed-race girl who also loves Romantic poetry. With a feminist, socially conscious spin, McDermid (The Distant Echo) vividly contrasts marginal subsistence in London's dismal Marshpool neighborhood with the Lake District's bucolic lifestyle. Boasting blurbs from such notable authors as Harlan Coben, Tess Gerritsen and Joseph Finder, this could be McDermid's break-out book. 100,000 printing; author tour. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Even without the melodramatic plot twists, the novel's scholarship is exciting on its own terms, and entirely appropriate for a district so wildly beautiful that it attracts both poets and pirates."
"Review" by , "McDermid is the winner of numerous mystery/detective book awards, and her latest effort is sure to please her fans."
"Review" by , "Val McDermid has written about a score of excellent crime-fiction books....The Grave Tattoo is well up to the standard of these previous offerings."
"Review" by , "McDermid...renders a supremely satisfying tale in which matters of heart and mind are entwined."
"Synopsis" by ,
Against the backdrop of England's Lake District, a drama of life and death plays out, its ultimate prize a bounty worth millions
"Synopsis" by , In The Grave Tattoo, suspense master Val McDermid spins a psychological thriller in which a present-day murder has its roots in the eighteenth century and the mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty

After summer rains uncover a corpse bearing tattoos like those of eighteenth-century seafarers, many residents of the English Lake District cant help but wonder whether its the body of one of the towns most legendary fugitives.

Scholar and native Lakelander Jane Gresham feels compelled to finally discover the truth about the myths and buried secrets rooted in her hometown. What she never expected was to find herself at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that still has the power to put lives on the line. And with each new lead she pursues, death follows hard on her heels….

"Synopsis" by ,
In a novel reminiscent of The Rule of FourThe Dante Club and The Historian, suspense master McDermid spins a psychological thriller in which a present-day murder has its roots in the eighteenth century and the mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty. After torrential summer rains uncover a bizarrely tattooed body on a Lake District hillside, long discarded old wives' tales takes on a chilling new plausibility. For centuries, Lakelanders have whispered that Fletcher Christian staged the massacre on Pitcairn so that he could return home. And there, he told his story to an old friend and schoolmate, William Wordsworth, who turned it into a long narrative poem--a poem that remained hidden lest it expose Wordsworth to the gallows for harboring a fugitive. Wordsworth specialist Jane Gresham, herself a native of the Lake District, feels compelled to discover once and for all whether the manuscript ever existed--and whether it still exists today. But as she pursues each new lead, death follows hard on her heels. Suddenly Jane is at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that still has the power to put lives on the line. Against the dramatic backdrop of England's Lake District a drama of life and death plays out, its ultimate prize a bounty worth millions.
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